78 MOVE TO YOUR OWN BEAT
To stay relevant in Singapore’s highly competitive retail scene, two homegrown fashion designers are doing things very differently: Max Tan, who shuttered his store, is now bringing his clothes to you at home; and Elyn Wong still creates only backless pie
Two home-grown labels with personal takes on fashion: Max Tan and Elyn Wong.
“My designs can look quite complicated and daunting, but if you take the pieces apart, they are very wearable.” – Max Tan
MAX TAN, 32
For the last several years in Europe, the Middle East and China, Tan has been our answer to Martin Margiela and Ann Demeulemeester. His intellectual designs are stocked in multi-label stores like Dublin’s Rock Baileys, Dubai’s The Cartel and Guangzhou’s Fashion Door. Here at home, it’s the opposite. It’s a constant challenge. “I think a lot of traction comes from Europe and China because women there are more receptive to conceptual pieces. My designs can look quite complicated and daunting, but if you take the pieces apart, they are very wearable – save for a few statement pieces, of course – and can be easily incorporated into everyday looks.”
Tan opened a store in Singapore in 2015, but it closed within a year. Yet, he wants to keep pushing on.
“This year, I was chosen to be part of international fashion business development programme Fashion Futures 2.0, a Singapore Fashion Week initiative.
“I travelled to New York and saw how labels like Rebecca Minkoff and Carolina Herrera worked, from development and creative process to PR and communications.
“When I closed my store last March, I felt there were many local customers in Singapore who enjoy shopping online but still want to look at and feel the items before dropping $400-$500 on a brand they have never heard of,” he says.
“So I started the comehome-to-shop service in October last year.” Here’s how it works: First, visit www.max-tan.com, select as many pieces and sizes as you’d like to try, and make an appointment with a sales associate, who will bring them to your home. “We’ll even help identify pieces that work well with your current wardrobe. This service is free of charge – you only pay for the clothes you pick.”